Cabo Fresh Taco - 1425 Sumter Street

Posted by The LunchMen Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hola, mis amigos! Happy Cinco de Mayo. Cabo Fresh Taco, the new restaurant on Sumter Street that took over Craving's old spot, rolled out a 2 for $5 taco day in honor of this Mexican holiday. The Lunchmen could not resist.

Rabbit and I were a little late to the party this afternoon, but I am glad that we did not miss it. On the way to the restaurant, we ran into The Publican and Spoony. The reports were good - nice taco fillings, delicious salsa and queso, even Mexican Coca-Cola sweetened with cane sugar. The only complaint Spoony and The Publican raised were that the taco shells were the small, corn tortilla shells rather than the flour shells. I was slightly disappointed.

Why? Because the name of the restaurant suggested to me that it was going to be a wholesale rip-off of my favorite taco shop of all time, Cabo Fish Taco in Charlotte and Blacksburg. "Surely," I said to myself, "if they were going to rip off Cabo Fish Taco, they would have used the double-flour-shell technique that provides all of the structural integrity to Cabo Fish Taco's delightful creations. Its a no-brainer" Although there were some similarities, such as tasty slaw topping on the taco and double corn tortillas, Cabo Fresh Taco is no Cabo Fish Taco rip off. They just have a similar name and similarly good tacos.

Rabbit and I were very pleased with our meals. First, how about that salsa? It oozed with smoky chipotle, was not acidized, and even appeared to have some grilled peppers or tomatoes in it. Good salsa is half the battle, in my opinion. As for the tacos, the barbacoa beef taco was outstanding. In a side-by-side comparison, it would absolutely dominate the ones over at Chipotle. Rabbit was enamored with his veggie taco, which had portabella mushrooms cooked in what we believe to be Worcestershire sauce. That's thinking outside of the box.

The seafood tacos did not impress us as much as our other tacos. Spoony recommended the fried shrimp taco. It was good, but not as good as my barbacoa. Rabbit was not very thrilled with his mahi taco, either. At $3.95 a piece, I'd recommend saving a little money and going for a non-seafood option on the taco. Spoony and The Publican said that the pork (al pastor) was a little dry, but tasty nonetheless.

I am glad to have an uptown location within walking distance serving fresh tacos. It is nice to have a new face (literally) on Sumter Street - it is helping me cope with the loss of the Palmetto Sandwich Shop and Cravings. Please get over to Cabo Fresh Taco and show this start-up restaurant some support and to enjoy some pretty good tacos. Trust me, Chipotle will be fine without your lunch support.

- Tank

Cabo Fresh Taco on Urbanspoon


  1. Tank Says:
  2. By way of an update, Caveman, Kali, The Publican and I went back to Cabo Fresh Taco for a quick bite today. I ordered the Al Pastor and the Fried Grouper tacos. The tacos were less delicious today, and my grouper was cold. The Publican and Kali were disappointed with the grouper and the chicken tacos, respectively. Caveman said that it was a "one and done" for him - he was thoroughly dissatisfied with his selection of Fried Grouper and Chicken tacos. It looks like the upstart still has some kinks to work out - we'll give them another shot and let you know.

  3. Anonymous Says:
  4. You should go ahead and give Cabo Fresh Taco another try. Everything I had was delicious and none of it was dry either. Even their chicken was juicy, I thought it was great!

  5. Anonymous Says:
  6. It's unfortunate that the juiciest thing on the plate seems to be the tortilla, which has the consistency of wet toilet paper.

  7. Anonymous Says:
  8. Cabo Taco sux. I rather get the stuff San Jose heats up in the microwave. The service takes too long, I feel bad for the people who order delivery, whenever they start that....

  9. Tank Says:
  10. At the urging of our blog readers, the Lunchmen did go give Cabo Fresh Taco another go around. I tried the pork tacos this time. The taco failed for me again. This time, the fruit juice made my taco shells way too soggy to eat. That much fruit on a small taco was a bad call by the cook. The meat was a little dry for me, too. My opinion of Cabo Fresh Taco is slipping fast...

    - Tank

  11. Anonymous Says:
  12. I use to work at the " Cabo Fresh Taco ", they fired me and my friend after we asked too many questiions about the treatment of employees. We were concerned about our w2 forms (which we were never given a chance to fill out)and the hours we were working. Our hours were shortened and our work increased. They gave us the run around when it was time to get paid and we didnt like it! A couple other employees were fired also for unfair reasons! They sent me a text message to tell me not to come back, just come pick up my last check! They couldnt even tell me face to face! They management sucks! There is no reason they should be failing!

  13. Bach Pham Says:
  14. I also visted/wrote about Cabo Taco a few weeks back, and I got the same impression as Tank on his recent visit: the pork tacos were devastatingly dry and need a huge douse of their hot sauce to chew down. The tortillas just don't hold up, even with two. A little sauce on them and they fell apart in our hands. My friend tried the shrimp taco, but only received three small pieces of shrimp - not enough to satisfy any appetite. I still believe Casa Lindas and other tried-and-true taco joints reign supreme over this new locale.

  15. Anonymous Says:
  16. Went for lunch today - 4 tacos + 2 teas = $17.00

    There is no reason to go here. Bland, Tasteless, Dry, and too much sweetness from fruit juice. There are better taco trucks around Columbia. Also parking is slim pickins. Do yourself a favor "Just say NO!"

  17. Anonymous Says:
  18. @North2South~
    You obviously are either Eric or one of his little boyfriends. i.e. Eric is the silent owner of Cabo Fresh Taco and Taco Boy in Folly Beach. No one can agree the food is good at Cabo Taco. They should switch to flour shells. Barton the owner, should be charged with Breach of Trust. I've never met such a lying, cheating, ignorant person such as Barton. He used to own the Keg, if you remember that place and ever tried to eat there, you'll get a better grasp on what is to come of Cabo Taco. We were told we couldn't get our checks and would have to come back later because Barton had to get his hair cut. On the last check he said he had to mail us tax information and that we weren't allowed to come pick it up. We never got the tax info. Both times he did this to avoid us cashing them on our pay day. He wanted us to wait till the following Monday. Maybe Barton, you'd have more money in the account if you didn't spend it on front row tickets to the Carolina basketball games with your high dollar hookers. Yeah, I've seen you there, its a small world. Keep up the bad work!

  19. north2south Says:
  20. Whoa there, Anonymous 11:22 -- put down the hot sauce, partner. I'm not Eric, nor a friend of Eric's, nor someone who knows Eric, nor someone who knows that a guy named Eric is the silent owner of some taco places, nor even someone who really knows what a "silent owner" is. You've got me on the high dollar hookers, though! I'm sorry that your interactions with this restaurant have left you with a big chipotle on your shoulder. That doesn't excuse your preference for flour over corn tortilla shells, though. What's next, a defense of blueberry bagels?

  21. Anonymous Says:
  22. @ north2south...
    What are you talking about man? You've obviously never worked in a restaurant and you obviously don't eat a lot of tex mex. I've worked at enough restaurants that I believe someone when they say they've been mistreated. And I've eaten enough tex mex to know bad tex mex when it falls apart and looks like garbage on my plate. I've eaten a lot of cabo taco...at first because I really liked their salads. Their salads are the only thing I can compliment them on...like California Dreaming, they figured out that if you put bacon grease on a salad it's practically orgasmic. For the rest of their offerings...like another post said, 'just say no'. The corn shells just don't hold up with all the extra liquid, maybe with a flour tortilla it would hold it all together long enough to at least get a few bites. As for the price!? I've never gotten out of there only paying $7 and even that would be too much. For $5 on tuesday night at the Whig just a couple blocks down, you can have a pint of any of their delicious drafts and 2 amazing tacos that beat the socks of cabo's! (and that $5 counts $1 for tip!) The Whig does it right, for only 50 cents you get a taco loaded w/ black beans and beef, lettuce and lots of freshly shredded cheese and homemade salsa. It's the most amazing poor man's dinner on the planet. So with other cheaper and more tasty options, I see absolutely no reason to ever set foot in cabo slopo taco ever again.

  23. Anonymous Says:
  24. I worked for Barton as well. He would always beat around the bush about payroll checks..treated employees like servants, we never filled out any W-2 forms, worked in a stifling hot kitchen that at times during the heatwave went up to 110 degrees. He wouldn't fix the A/C and the only thing he was concerned about was giving free food to the women and his lame friends that would come in. It had the potential to be great..but both Barton and the other owner just did not care about the quality. The kitchen staff could do but so much. Plenty of things needed to be changed and he was advised by the chef to do but he was unwilling to. He did not want any specials and when specials were brought to his attention he declined because he didn't like it. Truth be told, he has no taste in food, nor the culinary knowledge. If he would have allowed his chef to really run that kitchen it would have been eclectic and unlike anything else. He is an A-1, first class piece of @#*&!! Do not continue to support this man who does not give a damn about the quality of the food. He even wants to use leftover food that was used a catering gig that was sitting in a doctor's office for over 5 hours..DISGUSTING!!!

  25. Anonymous Says:
  26. I had lunch at Cabo last week. It was very good. I had the taco salad with pulled chicken. As the name would indicate, everything was fresh. The chicken was REALLY good, and as a nice little surprise ...the taco shell was nice and light.
    I will eat there again.

  27. Anonymous Says:
  28. Great food at a great price. One of my favorite places in Columbia. Keep up the good work Cabo!!

  29. Anonymous Says:
  30. Good god people!!! This is a lunch review page, not about bashing your employment at Cabo! Vent to someone who cares.
    I work at the hospital and go to Cabo at least twice a week with my co-workers and we love it. The food is always good and we are in and out in less then 30 minutes. Great cheese dip!!!!

  31. Anonymous Says:
  32. Waaaaa. The kitchen was hot? Really? I'm shocked to hear they have a hot kitchen. Food was fresh and I enjoyed the fish taco the best. Yummy in my tummy

  33. Anonymous Says:
  34. i tHINK fARTON IS hot!!

  35. Anonymous Says:
  36. Best taco in Columbia!!!!

  37. Anonymous Says:
  38. farton has sexy cowboy boots

  39. Anonymous Says:
  40. Here is a update: THEY ARE CLOSED FOR BUSINESS FOR GOOD. I went to use my Groupon and suprise.... closed for business. I guess I'm stuck with my crappy groupon.


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Rabbit, Tank, and The Publican are three dudes just trying to get through the work week here in Columbia. Rabbit is a Columbia native, Tank is from Charleston, and The Publican hails from Greenville. Rabbit's favorite lunch spot is the No Name Deli on Elmwood, where you may find him putting down a grilled chicken salad and a side of vinegar pasta. The Publican usually wants to find food to cure his all-too-common hangovers. Tank claims no favorite lunch spot - he lives for the thrill of the hunt.


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